When you get home after a long day, it’s nice to feel that you can create a healthy flavour-full meal fast, with minimal effort. Asian-style cooking can help you here; specifically, the cuisine of the island cultures like Indonesia. This cuisine is dominated by fresh vegetables and seafood, cooked only lightly, with minimal grains, dairy and sugar. If you’ve ever witnessed a stir-fry being put together, you’ll know how quickly simple ingredients can be mixed with an interesting sauce to create a memorable meal in minutes.
Let’s take a look at some specific elements of this Asian diet, and see how you can use them to make your diet healthier (and even more delicious!)
Being surrounded by sea, and with only minimal agricultural land, the Asian island protein sources are dominated by seafood, but with some animal meat and eggs.
Vegetables abound in this cuisine, as they do in many traditionally healthy cultures. What sets the Indonesian food apart is the dominance of greens, including fresh bean sprouts, and green herbs like coriander. Vegetables are often served raw, or only lightly cooked, which preserves much of the water soluble vitamins (that’s Vitamin C, flavonoids, and the B Group vitamins).
There’s not much saturated fat – coconut is the major source.
Spices are used generously, and add interest to a diet that could otherwise be bland.
It all adds up to a diet that’s high in antioxidants to slow ageing, and has an anti-inflammatory effect, to help prevent the development of chronic disease.
What doesn’t appear much in the Asian diet is highly processed food. Sure, there are sweet treats; but wheat, dairy products and sugar don’t dominate as they do in a modern western diet.
Learning some Asian cooking techniques, like stir-frying, could help you create faster, healthier meals that you’ll really enjoy. All you have to have on hand in the fridge is some seafood, meat or eggs; a selection of vegetables, and some Asian-style sauces in the pantry. Heat up the wok and off you go…..